Discussion on Secular Themes in CM

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music

#101  Postby kaapi » 07 Feb 2008 20:55

It has been argued in this thread that instead of bhakti being the only subject other themes and contemporary themes should be adopted, which will raise the listener interest and hence bring in a larger audience. This line of arguments supposes that the lyrics are the most dominant experience providers in a CM concert. Lyrics possibly contributed to 30 % of the experience that even a lay listener.

The dominant position that the Trinity have enjoyed over a period time has contributed to notion that the bhakti orientation is because of them and there is a “strong “and “invisibleâ€
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#102  Postby coolkarni » 07 Feb 2008 21:11

http://www.uykucu.org/watch_video/kls42 ... CHAKRADHAR{dot}

My favourite Vaggeyakara of OUR Times- Ashok Chakradhar
A Mind boggling Poet.
A Mind boggling Performer.
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#103  Postby vgvindan » 07 Feb 2008 22:07

[quote]But they shun the nAmasamkIrtans as these are too participatory or because of the discomfort of sitting cross legged on the floor. This is the “Bhakti Brigadeâ€
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#104  Postby vgvindan » 07 Feb 2008 22:17

Tyagaraja used the "direct" approach because he went out into the street to do "bhajan",

SR
Thyagaraja used 'direct' approach because he was speaking to the Lord through the Kritis. If only you had the patience to go through the kritis, you will realise that Thyagarja was communicating directly with the Lord.
But when I say this, there are many who will say 'blind faith'. In Indian philosophy and Yoga systems there are words like 'sAmIpyam', 'sAlOkyam', 'sArUpyaM', sAyujyaM'. Those who care to make an effort to understand the significance of these words, would understand what it means to 'talk directly to the Lord'.
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#105  Postby sbala » 07 Feb 2008 22:20

kkumar29 wrote:I have only seen emotional responses but no logical well thought out reasons K. Kumar

There are two ideals, Beauty and Truth. These are two different worlds, each standing on its own. People living in the world of Truth look for objectivity. People living in the world of Beauty look at a concept mainly from that perspective and express their thoughts emotionally. That doesn't necessarily mean one world is superior to the other. It follows that there might be beautiful things that are false and true things that are not beautiful. The person living in the world of Truth wil shun those thoughts that he knows is false. Similarly, a person living in the world of Beauty will shun all arguments that take away the beauty that he had seen. It is not required for these two worlds to meet all the time and that is one reason for the sparks. But, to assume that the logical world is superior to the emotional/beautiful world isn't good.
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#106  Postby kkumar29 » 07 Feb 2008 22:35

sbala,

I agree with what you say. However the two ideal worlds are not mutually exclusive. The person seeking the truth can also appreciate the beauty and the person appreciating and immersing in the beauty can do so knowing fully that the beauty they are immersing in is not the complete truth.

I for one enjoy the current form of carnatic music immensely with its bhakthi soaked lyrics in any language. I also enjoy music of other forms where there are no lyrics. I just fail to understand why there is such an emotional outburst against somebody raising a question as to why we can not enjoy music that has non-bhakthi related compositions. As claimed by some of the responders the trinity and bhakthi oriented compositions have withstood the test of time. If the so called secular themes are of good quality they will also withstand the test of time and become accepted in the CM scene. At least give it a chance.

In conclusion all I can say is that there is always resistance to change. In any change process there are seven stages (Five if you follow a different school of thought) and first one is always denial. I guess most of the responders are currently in this stage. Slowly and surely they will progress through the other stages and will ultimately reach the internalization stage.

K. Kumar.
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#107  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 00:33

kaapi wrote:It has been argued in this thread that instead of bhakti being the only subject other themes and contemporary themes should be adopted, which will raise the listener interest and hence bring in a larger audience. This line of arguments supposes that the lyrics are the most dominant experience providers in a CM concert. Lyrics possibly contributed to 30 % of the experience that even a lay listener.

Hold on, I said that introducing secular themes in the lyrics is one essential part of many things that need to be done to make CM a strong art form capable of withstanding extreme social changes which are already occurring. I am simply going to ignore the "extreme conservatives" because they are in a very small minority and do not add much value to the discussion except to give occasionally useful reminders of what past composers focused on. In one of the very first discussions in which I participated on this forum (back in 2006), I gave essentially a rundown of suggested "things to do", more secularization of themes was one of them.

When we talk of contemporary themes we should also talk the contemporaenity of the composer also. Normally as any composer passes away his compositions become less common and slowly the compositions of the next generation takes over. Thus it is wrong to think that the trinity obliterated the earlier composers. It was a natural process. But it is the trinity who has proved contrary to this rule. More than the other two it is Saint Thyagaraja’s whose legacy simply refuses to go away.

Usually, the mistake is in how the legacy is defined. If one defines "legacy" as the corpus of kritis of a composer, then I believe all legacies will eventually fade. Even among the Trinity, the number of kritis which are frequently sung and developed is shrinking (whether Tyagaraja or MD or Shastri). As a matter of fact, Swati kritis are the only one (among "major" 18th-19th century composers) enjoying an expansion of interest.

I believe the "legacy" should be defined truly in a much broader sense than popular appeal. It is defined more in the sense of intellectual and artistic influence on the future composers. I will disagree that Tyagaraja's legacy should be considered "greater" than MDs. I believe both T and MD have influenced many composers after them. Papanasam Sivan may have had his own views on Tyagaraja, but they should not be taken as eternal truth. While T's forte is in a very direct form of spirituality and bhakti, MD was a far better cultural integrator - such people only come by once in hundreds of years. As I mentioned in my preface to my composition on MD, he was able to combine many of the very best elements of Indian civilization into his work. Some people who think that his compositions are a mass of doxological compound words have entirely missed the point. Saints and bhaktas are also good, but they tend to appear much more frequently.

The impact of MD on our music must not be underestimated, and given a supply of discerning and reflective composers and musicologists, it should "by rights" far exceed any other vaggeyakara. MD's biggest disadvantage was his relatively weak shishya parampara. That made the crucial difference, not any "super-quality" of Tyagaraja's compositions. MD shared many qualities with another great cultural integrator, Adi Sankara - his firm grounding in Advaita, practise of "catholic" bhakti as a jivanmukta without the fetters of Dvaita and other theological nonsense that idealizes starvation and a hard life, and peripatetic nature (being willing to travel far and wide and learn many new things). But one thing he did not learn was the importance of preserving his own legacy. Unlike Sankara who toured India "harvesting disciples" from the heretics and adherents of other darshanas whom he defeated in debate, and who thereafter established various "mathas" with these disciples in charge to propagate his legacy, MD did not do much to preserve his legacy. We do not know why, but if he had done so then I bet the same guys who are now upholding Tyagaraja would have been singing MD's tune.

With Shastri and Swati, the shishya-parampara was even weaker or non-existent. With Swati, at least the royal lineage and financial resources of his descendents keeps his legacy strong at least in Kerala. I am not sure about Shastri, it is unfortunate that his legacy is not appreciated as much as it should be except in meaningless words and not real deeds.

The more one contemplates deeply about these things, the more one realizes that it is not obscurantist beliefs of "super-sprituality" - making Tyagaraja to be some kind of "super-composer" - that constitute the real reasons for CM being what it is today. It seems that it is extremely difficult to get across the idea that people who examine past composers from an impartial and thoughtful point of view, are not stupid nor less spiritual in nature nor incapable of understanding the lives of saints and bhakts. That is the brick wall which truly frustrates advancement in our classical music, not the imagined "brick wall" of Tyagarajan "super-compositions" that remain unsurmountable.

I do entirely agree with you (as I stated in a previous post) that many post-18th century composers have tried to "imitate" MD or Tyagaraja without imbibing the essence of their composition. I can relate personally to this in the context of MD. Fathoming the depth of his contributions remains a lifelong challenge for me. Success or failure is for the future rasiks to judge, but one thing became clear to me (and which I have stated before) - that being a "modern-day imitator" of MD (or any other composer) is not what modern composers should be doing.

[quote]In my opinion what is happening in the Chennai music scene is something like this. There are a good number of people who want something to keep them going spiritually but do not know where to get it. Bhakti thru CM is the most easily accessible straw to which they clutch. They can actually participate in nAmasamkirtanas where the music is very good with emphasis on sAhitya, lot of Bhakti etc. But they shun the nAmasamkIrtans as these are too participatory or because of the discomfort of sitting cross legged on the floor. This is the “Bhakti Brigadeâ€
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#108  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 00:56

vgvindan wrote:Thyagaraja used 'direct' approach because he was speaking to the Lord through the Kritis. If only you had the patience to go through the kritis, you will realise that Thyagarja was communicating directly with the Lord.

Well, VGV, I don't claim to be able to "plug into" Tyagaraja's "direct communications with the Lord". What I have done over the years is to learn a number of his kritis - along with those of other composers - and try to reflect upon them in a thoughtful way as relevant to the art of CM. I am not really interested in getting into the realm of superstition, non-verifiability, and obscurantism. "Bhakti" is a very personal thing and not to be bandied around lightly or with full confidence that person X has a "direct connection" but person Y "lacks patience".

Other composer Z (feel free to insert other composer name) also is in "direct communications with the Lord" and if you have patience to go through his/her kritis, you will realize that he/she too is in "direct communication" with the Lord. If you cannot see it, the problem is that you have not had enough patience. :)

SR
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#109  Postby vgvindan » 08 Feb 2008 01:08

SR,
There cannot be a greater scorn on Thyagaraja - what else can we expect from those name people as "bhajeham' and 'brovavamma'?
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#110  Postby vgvindan » 08 Feb 2008 01:13

A "decoupling" of CM from the "bhakti-brigade" and viewing it as an art form which has to be appreciated slowly and thoughtfully, not just gobbled down, will be very welcome. This does not mean that bhakti has no place in CM or that compositions of T "on bhakti" and MD "on deities" should not be sung any more.

First Commandment has come - let the other nine also come.
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#111  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 01:15

vgvindan wrote:SR,
There cannot be a greater scorn on Thyagaraja - what else can we expect from those name people as "bhajeham' and 'brovavamma'?

Let me complete the list - why stop at Tyagaraja ? Since I named MD as "Mr. Bhajeham" 15 years ago, I am therefore also heaping scorn on him, and since I called Shastri as "Mr. Nannubrova", I have even greater scorn for him. Swati, a.k.a. "Mr. Pahimam"...not even worth a mention.
:)
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#112  Postby vidya » 08 Feb 2008 01:45

Sangeet Rasik wrote:but one thing became clear to me (and which I have stated before) - that being a "modern-day imitator" of MD (or any other composer) is not what modern composers should be doing.
SR

This was my entire point in questioning templates.That MD had his reasons to create and use a certain form or for example choosing to do away multiple charanas with same music. A great many people have repeated what Dr.Raghavan and others have said about a not-so active shishya parampara but that is only a fractional part of the story.

- The much hailed kutcheri paddhati with emphasis on fast-paced songs, assumptions on variations in eduppu and scope for quick tempo swara singing has taken from listeners the ability to fathom the depth of a raga.This is the same reason why multiple ragas in RTPs rule over in-depth treatment of a single raga.
- MD's compositions in their elephantine mode did not fit the needs of the some concert goers. Which also explains the popularity of Patnam subramanya Iyer's compositions in their peppy edginess.Its kind of like fast food and we can't do much about it.
- Also the ability to improvise and stretch seems to be an issue with MD's compositions. To fathom an MD composition in its depth you need to sing it with the
structure intact.
- Another reason is that MD in his compositions decided to take a janus-faced approach so it did not help a seeker of new ragas like Kharaharapriya or
or Kunthalavarali , or did not aid the compositional approach of the next generation of composers like Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar .
- I would also add that had the Tanjore quartet chosen to live in Chennai or Tanjore and propogate their own compositions and their gurus MD would have seen much more light.
Their decision to move to Travancore meant that a large number of their compostions ended up in this doubtful heap 'who composed this' category.

Sangeet Rasik wrote:The impact of MD on our music must not be underestimated, and given a supply of discerning and reflective composers and musicologists, it should "by rights" far exceed any other vaggeyakara. MD's biggest disadvantage was his relatively weak shishya parampara. That made the crucial difference, not any "super-quality" of Tyagaraja's compositions. MD shared many qualities with another great cultural integrator, Adi Sankara - his firm grounding in Advaita, practise of "catholic" bhakti as a jivanmukta without the fetters of Dvaita and other theological nonsense that idealizes starvation and a hard life, and peripatetic nature (being willing to travel far and wide and learn many new things). But one thing he did not learn was the importance of preserving his own legacy. Unlike Sankara who toured India "harvesting disciples" from the heretics and adherents of other darshanas whom he defeated in debate, and who thereafter established various "mathas" with these disciples in charge to propagate his legacy, MD did not do much to preserve his legacy. We do not know why, but if he had done so then I bet the same guys who are now upholding Tyagaraja would have been singing MD's tune
SR

It is here that I disagree . I consider the legacy of MD and his catholicity of outlook largely to be a result of his shakta traditions. A tradition known for a liberal outlook in terms of caste and gender. Infact contradictory to what you say, Sankara's advaita idealizes a hard life (and when it was initially established none of the mathas had any householder adherents, it was a mere monastic order which later became a social institution). As for Dikshitar it is the core of the shakta and the shakta tradition that he followed and that which rejects the negative approach and the nEti nEti model and celebrates life affirmation and a balanced outlook that we see in his compositions. Anyone who understands Dikshitar will know that he never pooh-poohed any theological stream as nonsense. I find a lot of his compositions seamlessly integrate Agamic Saivism, Kashmiri Saivism, Tantric Saivism, references to left handed paths derailed as heretics and also to philosophical streams such as advaita and dvaita. Also today very few people believe in the historicity of a monolithic Sankara as a cultural integrator. I for one do not believe that the the author of the brahma SUtra bhAshyas was the same as the shanmata sthApaka. This is an assumption born out of faith not out of historicity.

I personally think the quality of both these composer's compositions were truly super-quality and may be we should take a leaf out of Dikshitar and eschew this parochialism?
Tyagaraja was more popular only because his approach to music and ragas also happened to be the way the future of carnatic music headed and the emotional appeal.
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#113  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 01:59

Sbala,

sbala wrote:What I was always interested in is how do you maintain quality as you allow new changes. We cannot just let our fears of the future cajole us into inaction. Instead of arguing further, let me suggest this approach. This itself could ruffle a few people.

Thanks. I think this is definitely a worthwhile topic within this thread.

2. Some might argue if the Trinity did not have to go through this process, why should the modern composers be subjected to it.

Trinity went through the process and came out with flying colors overall.

1. Introduce a rating agency that employs eminent scholars who rate every composition that is submitted to them. Please observe that it is optional for a composer to go through this process. Obviously, the agency will have some standards to judge the compositions. What those standards are, is possibly the next step and I would leave it to knowledgeable people to discuss them.

Sharangadeva, in the third chapter of his "Sangita Ratnakara" has enumerated the characteristics of an ideal vaggeyakara. Rajan Parrikar has paraphrased these from Shringy and Sharma (vol 2, chapter 3). I am cutting and pasting directly from the following link:

http://www.sawf.org/newedit/edit05012000/musicarts.asp

a thorough knowledge of grammar (indicative of the ability of the appropriate use of words)
proficiency in lexicography
knowledge of prosody (differentiating among the various meters)
proficieny in the use of figures of speech
comprehension of aesthetic delight (rasa) as related to different emotive states of being (bhAva)
intelligent familiarity with local custom (necessary to grasp the intonation (kAku) peculiar to particular regions
knowledge of many languages
proficiency in the scientific theories of fine arts
expert knowledge of the three musical arts (vocal music, instrumental music and dancing)
a lovely tone quality
good knowledge of laya (tempo), tAla (musical time) and kAla.
discrimination of different intonations
acquaintance with regional (desi) rAgas
a sense of propriety in expression and new melodic forms
knowledge of another's mind
maturity in the understanding of different prabandhas
ability to compose songs at short notice
expert knowledge of composing different verbal structures for different melodic forms
maturity in producing gamakas pervading the three registers
proficiency in presentation of different AlApa

SR
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#114  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 03:30

vidya wrote:It is here that I disagree . I consider the legacy of MD and his catholicity of outlook largely to be a result of his shakta traditions. A tradition known for a liberal outlook in terms of caste and gender. Infact contradictory to what you say, Sankara's advaita idealizes a hard life (and when it was initially established none of the mathas had any householder adherents, it was a mere monastic order which later became a social institution).

I did not say that Advaita has no place for the monastic order. Of course I know that even modern Advaitins like Vivekananda and Chinmayananda led a monastic life. But it is a far stretch to say that this is an "idealization" of monasticism. In Advaita the idealization is of the "jivanmukta", who can be a householder or not. Gaudapada's "mandukya karika" explicitly says that the Advaitic path leads to a "natural peace" and does not require undue hardship, ascetism, penance/tapas or other deprivations. The tradition of "sanyasa" is common to many branches of Indian philosophy and spiritualism, and is a path taken by individuals through their own choice. It should never be confused as an "idealization" of the best adherent of Advaita.

As for Dikshitar it is the core of the shakta and the shakta tradition that he followed and that which rejects the negative approach and the nEti nEti model and celebrates life affirmation and a balanced outlook that we see in his compositions. Anyone who understands Dikshitar will know that he never pooh-poohed any theological stream as nonsense.

First of all, I have never suggested that he "pooh-poohed" any theology as having no merit at all. I am saying exactly that he never subscribed to theological nonsense as in claiming that one god is better than other or that certain sectarian beliefs are better than others or in denying the ultimate non-dual truth in favor of dualist (maya-promoted) semi-truths. Neither did Sankara reject theology as such, and considered himself a "bhakta". Secondly, I strongly disagree that an Advaitin has to reject the "neti neti model" in order to celebrate life affirmation and have a balanced outlook. This is based upon an incorrect interpretation of the Upanishad and has been argued by many scholars over the centuries. Very briefly, "neti neti" only indicates what is *not* the end-all and be-all of the universe; by no means does it say that one must reject all of this in order to be Advaitic. The notion of "paramarthika" and "vyavaharika" truth is of importance in understanding this.

Again, I am not saying that shaktism has no influence in Dikshitar's life, but at the root his approach is Advaitic and it is the fundamental foundation of Dikshitar and his music and his life. He considered shaktism as one path/window into the Advaitic ideal. His catholicism is ultimately inspired by Advaita, although it may be seen most frequently through his tantric and Saiva practices. The fundamental nature of Advaita is non-sectarianism.

I find a lot of his compositions seamlessly integrate Agamic Saivism, Kashmiri Saivism, Tantric Saivism, references to left handed paths derailed as heretics and also to philosophical streams such as advaita and dvaita.

I am very well aware of this. In my composition "muttusvaminam" which is posted on this forum, I highlight repeatedly this very integration of advaita, saivism, agamic tantra, and advaita. In my other composition "vaggeyasamrajam" (not posted yet) I continue to highlight this integration, also including his command of other shastras.

Also today very few people believe in the historicity of a monolithic Sankara as a cultural integrator. I for one do not believe that the the author of the brahma SUtra bhAshyas was the same as the shanmata sthApaka. This is an assumption born out of faith not out of historicity.

I do not agree with this interpretation at all. As far as I know, Sankara is most certainly the author of the brahmasutra bhashyas and that the four "authentic" dashanami mathas are founded by him or members of his very early shishya parampara. Some disputants may have existed but these assertions have been debunked and disclaimed. But this is probably not a subject for detailed discussions on this thread.

I personally think the quality of both these composer's compositions were truly super-quality and may be we should take a leaf out of Dikshitar and eschew this parochialism?Tyagaraja was more popular only because his approach to music and ragas also happened to be the way the future of carnatic music headed and the emotional appeal.

I partially agree with your first statement, but entirely disagree with the second. Forum members will note that my support of MD as the "greater" vaggeyakara has only in the sense of according him a rightful place and refuting the "Tyagaraja-is-the ultimate" assertions that many who follow CM are brought up to believe.

SR
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#115  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 03:52

vidya wrote:- The much hailed kutcheri paddhati with emphasis on fast-paced songs, assumptions on variations in eduppu and scope for quick tempo swara singing has taken from listeners the ability to fathom the depth of a raga.This is the same reason why multiple ragas in RTPs rule over in-depth treatment of a single raga.
- MD's compositions in their elephantine mode did not fit the needs of the some concert goers. Which also explains the popularity of Patnam subramanya Iyer's compositions in their peppy edginess.Its kind of like fast food and we can't do much about it.
- Also the ability to improvise and stretch seems to be an issue with MD's compositions. To fathom an MD composition in its depth you need to sing it with the
structure intact.
- Another reason is that MD in his compositions decided to take a janus-faced approach so it did not help a seeker of new ragas like Kharaharapriya or
or Kunthalavarali , or did not aid the compositional approach of the next generation of composers like Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar .
- I would also add that had the Tanjore quartet chosen to live in Chennai or Tanjore and propogate their own compositions and their gurus MD would have seen much more light.

While your factual points are well taken, I think one has to be careful to distinguish cause from effect. The root cause of these issues is the fact that MD's shishya parampara was not strong enough to influence decisions and directions. The modern "kacheri paddhati" followed in Chennai was introduced by Ariyakudi from Tyagaraja's parampara. If MD's parampara had been strong enough his disciples would have composed more palatable compositions, or speeded up the rendition (which works fine in many of his compositions), in keeping with the times (unfortunately most of them were "gurave namah" types with little initiative - or were perhaps just overwhelmed by Tyagaraja-centrism created by a large and well-oiled shishya parampara).

I totally disagree that improvisation is more difficult in MD compositions. In many compositions, he has taken care to introduce points for neraval and other elaboration. I do agree that the "sangati" approach of Tyagaraja's tradition is attractive to many (it is not clear to me whether he himself composed the sangatis or whether his disciples introduced them later). As for "new ragas", MD has done a great service in defining a multitude of "Hindustani" ragas which did not exist in the CM practice of his day. There is outstanding seed material for composers wishing guidance to compose in monumental Hindustani ragas, rather than compose in ragas of limited scope whose novelty stems essentially from their rare use. Why is it that there are still no weighty CM compositions in great Hindustani ragas ? Answer: because few have bothered to study how Dikshitar internalized Hindustani ragas and defined the basics of CM composition in these ragas.

SR
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#116  Postby vidya » 08 Feb 2008 03:56

Yes, advaitin as used by a layperson and a believer is very different from the term advaitin as used by a philosopher.
There are a million variations between the advaitins even among gaUDapada, sankara, sureshvara and so on.
Which is why a lot of philosophers qualify advaita as shAkta advaita, sankara advaita and why there saivite theologicians who called
themselves advaitins but rejected the sivasamavAda. Dikshitar's advaita was the shAkta advaita which people like bhAskara rAya followed.
In terms of the technical tenets from what I have gathered Dikshitar's advaita closely follows the ShAkta advaita beliefs.

As for the paramArthika vyavahArika system that sadly seems to be a trump card used to justify practices that defy logic. As for the monolithic sankara (ie author of the BSB being different from the author of the stotras) I am not sure what constitutes historical debunking that you refer. Any historical references to this would be appreciated , and I do have a lot of them of my own. but its a big digression and I don't want to get into this here.
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#117  Postby uday_shankar » 08 Feb 2008 07:36

vidya,

Shankara provides a broad target for labeling, given the extensive scholarly, philosophical/polemical works.

For Dikshitar all we have is a few lines of musical sAhitya and some sketchy biographical details (correct me if I am grossly wrong !!).

At a layperson level, there's no dearth non-intellectuals who can seamlessly integrate not merely different flavors of a single religious tradition but entirely non-overlapping religions such as Hindu and Semitic traditions. After all they are not in the business to split theological hairs but to get something useful from it all.

Based on what you know (since I don't know much about anything!), can you attribute extensive advaitic scholarship and/or rigorous intellectualism to MD ? If not, his "catholicity" stems from the intuitive inclusiveness that most people feel rather than any careful theological analysis, no ? Therefore it is unfair to pit him as an inclusive life-affirmer against the neti neti Shankara the life-denier ?

Again, it is conceivable that the Shankara of the bhashyas works is entirely different from the Shankara of real life (even granting the stotras are not his).
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#118  Postby knandago2001 » 08 Feb 2008 08:31

If I were to “walk in the shoesâ€
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#119  Postby vgvindan » 08 Feb 2008 09:28

What I have done over the years is to learn a number of his kritis - along with those of other composers - and try to reflect upon them in a thoughtful way as relevant to the art of CM. I am not really interested in getting into the realm of superstition, non-verifiability, and obscurantism. "Bhakti" is a very personal thing and not to be bandied around lightly or with full confidence that person X has a "direct connection" but person Y "lacks patience".

This amounts to telling telling 'I enjoy reading about so and so author - I appreciate his poetry - but don't ask me about the contents. The fact is that it is the passion behind the contents which emerges as poetry. You cannot delink passion behind the contents from the poetry-per-se. This is what called learning by rote.

The depth of Thyagaraja's music derives from his Bhakti. These 'bhakti-brigade-bashing' people are doing greatest disservice to the cause of music by considering music to be only an art form, freely use the name of Thyagaraja and also throw scorn over his bhakti as 'obscurantism'.

Music is a language of bhAva - emotions. Particularly, the kritis of Thyagaraja is steeped in such a deep bhakti that it is not possible to fathom it unless one has inclination and commitment.

These people who say that they love the kritis of Thyagaraja and at the same time throw scorn over his bhakti are indeed the pretenders of highest order promoting one's own wares, telling cock and bull stories to cheat the gullible public.

Admin,
I feel ashamed to be in the midst these 'go-mukha vyAghras'. Please remove my name from the forum.
Good Bye
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#120  Postby vidya » 08 Feb 2008 09:30

Should we say Shankara of 'unreal' life philosophically speaking ? :)

I am not pitting anyone against anyone but was trying to point out our own internal disparities - when it comes to music we want an intellectual approach,
when it comes to philosophy, social norms and culture a lot of people prefer a faith-based approach. Intellectual rigour can be applied in all dimensions and not when it suits us.
Yes, drawing conclusions from kRtis can be a unreliable, and my conclusions of Dikshitar's philosophical tenets and outlook are largely based on whatever little I have collected such as:

1.Published biographies 2.Additional field data collected from informal interviews with Shishya parampara folks, local traditions in and around the place he grew up.
3.The kind of textual tradition, terminologies used in kRtis. References to graded liberation, various contextual ways in which
he uses terms like avidyA, mAya ,jnAna jnAtru jnEye etc, technical term dropping without opinionation etc give us a pointer.
4.Again It could be possible that it had more to with an individual than a theology BUT wherever there occurs a reference to left-handed path it is always qualified
as 'one among the many methods of worship'. This is largely a legacy of his theology, in these upasakas terms like 'cleansing' and supplanting are never used.
And in that limited sense there really is definitely a greater degree of catholicity. Also because even though there is a succession of guru parampara(s) these upasakas do not believe
in institutionalization.It was in this context that I thought the comparison was not accurate.

We are talking about history that is hardly 200 years old. and a lot of these people have strong oral traditions even if you discount the miracles.
Anyway I have nothing more productive to add to this discussion and will exit now . Thanks to SR for providing some fodder to this discussion.I wish you well in your composing endeavors.
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#121  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 09:37

KNG,

[quote="knandago2001"]If I were to “walk in the shoesâ€
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#122  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 10:00

Vidya,

vidya wrote:when it comes to music we want an intellectual approach,
when it comes to philosophy, social norms and culture a lot of people prefer a faith-based approach. Intellectual rigour can be applied in all dimensions and not when it suits us.

A lot of the Advaitic debate (especially with the Buddhist "logicians") is regarding the true value of "logic" as a tool to see the ultimate reality. Advaita is a FAR more intellectual and "logical" philosophy than some give it credit for. Certainly better than the Buddhist "logicians" who brilliantly conclude that the Universe is in fact a Void. Advaitic approaches enable a person to apply "intellectual" approaches in all walks of life while having a clear understanding of the limits of logic itself.

As an aside, the Standard Model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model) is probably the last "logical" bastion of modern physics. Beyond that, you can judge for yourself how "logical" the hypotheses and claims of String Theory and "Theory of Everything" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_everything) are. Is this science or philosophy ? Logic or faith ? Paramarthika or vyavaharika ?

I have great interest in knowing more about Dikshitar through your direct interactions with his shishya parampara and those close to his personality. When/if your collected data is published, I hope you will let me/us know where it can be found. Even if it is not published, I hope there is a way it can be shared.

Best Wishes,
SR
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#123  Postby hsuvarna » 08 Feb 2008 10:08

=========I partially agree with your first statement, but entirely disagree with the second. Forum members will note that my support of MD as the "greater" vaggeyakara has only in the sense of according him a rightful place and refuting the "Tyagaraja-is-the ultimate" assertions that many who follow CM are brought up to believe.

SR

=========================================

I really dont get you at all. To raise the stature of MD you refute Tyagaraja. Tomorrow to refute another composer, you raise the stature of Tyagarja. You can write about the philosphics and advaita content of MD. You can list some lines instead of MD where in you feel really good about him.

Coolcarni-ji,
Thumri-Ghazal-HM: I consider thumri as part of HM unlike ghazal. I have not heard a ghazal in any HM concert nor I heard. You are welcome to reform this ill-form with more uploads of threats :-). Prior to this I read BGAK interviews where in he mentioned about the thumris and how he sang in his concerts. I consider ghazal as more of a derivative. Especially when sung by Mallika-e-Ghazal BA or ustad GA or MH than by HH or JS-C. We very well know thumris at the end of HM concert and I have seen GA starting the concert with a thumri. I always had problem buying ticket for GA or MH ghazal concert. never a problem for HM consert. What I was thinking was whether Ghazal influenced the HM patronship. The movie shankarabharanam in telugu definitely contributed to CM learning by more children/adults in Andhra. But we can discuss this in another thread.

nathikan:
I realized that there are some people like you who are totally outside. You have evry right to expect the concerts to your liking. I hope artists like BJ or some other artist cater to your needs of special refreshment. There cannot be a commonality here. Both have to be different circles. I was rasising objections to SR because something of this sort (anti-rama or no-rama) is very well expected.

Now I am geting a feeling that forum admins are thinking about what to do.
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#124  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 10:13

VGV,

vgvindan wrote:Music is a language of bhAva - emotions. Particularly, the kritis of Thyagaraja is steeped in such a deep bhakti that it is not possible to fathom it unless one has inclination and commitment.

I feel ashamed to be in the midst these 'go-mukha vyAghras'. Please remove my name from the forum.

Good Bye

upacAramu jEsEvArunnArani maravaku rA
kRpa kAvalenani nE nI kIrtini balkucunuNDaga
vAkiTanE padilamuga vAtAtmajuDunnaDani
SrIkarulagu nI tammulu cEriyunnArani
EkAntamunanu jAnakiyErpaDiyunnadani
SrI kAnta parulElani SrI tyAgarAja vinuta

SR
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#125  Postby Sangeet Rasik » 08 Feb 2008 10:21

Sir,

hsuvarna wrote:I really dont get you at all. To raise the stature of MD you refute Tyagaraja. Tomorrow to refute another composer, you raise the stature of Tyagarja. You can write about the philosphics and advaita content of MD. You can list some lines instead of MD where in you feel really good about him.

Perhaps in order to "get" me, you might have to consider that my purpose here is not to "refute" or to "insult" any composer. CM is not a "zero-sum game" in which one has to be raised in order to insult the other.

SR
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